Oceanside repeats its message to Caltrans, ‘no flyovers’

Noise, pollution, speed make list of concerns over I-5/SR78 project


OCEANSIDE — Oceanside is making sure its community voice is heard regarding Caltrans’s plans to rebuild the Interstate 5/ state Route 78 interchange that spills traffic into a residential neighborhood.

Mayor Jim Wood invited Caltrans to make a presentation on the interchange on Wednesday so community and city council concerns could be aired.

Caltrans first shared information on proposed interchange improvements in January, and followed up with additional community briefings since then. A community working group of area stakeholders was also formed.

Concerns voiced Wednesday were the same as those shared at earlier meetings that drew more than 300 people — namely Oceanside residents do not want a flyover.

Residents object to the noise, pollution and eyesore a raised flyover would create.

“I hope we don’t go backwards with this planning,” Diane Nygaard, a community working group member, said. “I hope Caltrans hears that concern. Don’t include flyovers.”

Prior to community comments Allan Kosup, Caltrans I-5 corridor director, presented an overview of the planned I-5 corridor improvements, and the necessity to upgrade both ends of SR-78 before future work on the interstate begins.

Kosup said roadway improvements would be designed to ease expected traffic flow for 30 years out.

He added that the interchange scenarios shared in January were general solutions, and not specific to the I-5/78 interchange. Actual alternatives are being developed and would be shared in the fall.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez asked point blank if flyovers could be eliminated as an idea.

Kosup said a robust solution is needed, and a flyover would be studied for traffic, cost and impact on neighborhoods, along with other alternatives.

He added community feedback on the interchange has been helpful and given Caltrans great ideas, including consideration of a roundabout and bike lane.

He also said residents have valid concerns.

In addition to objections to noise and pollution, residents expressed concern over the lack of progress in Buena Vista Lagoon restoration, which the interchange will cross.

Another big concern of residents and city council members was the speed of traffic that exits the interchange and barrels through a South Oceanside neighborhood.

An Oceanside resident said she witnessed the fatal crash that occurred on Vista Way last December, in which a car was rear-ended by a pickup truck speeding off the interchange.

“Please find a remedy not years down the road, but immediately,” she said.

Councilman Chuck Lowery asked that more signage to tell drivers to slow their speed be posted.

Councilman Jack Feller requested that Caltrans consider installing road alerts, like raised pavement markers.

Karen Jewell, a Caltrans I-5/78 project manager, said raised pavement markers would be considered, and more prominent signage would be put up within a month.

More information on the interchange and I-5 corridor project is posted on at keepsandiegomoving.com.

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